France : Safety by City
- Le Havre
Considering its tradition and complex history that dates back to 600 BC when it was founded by Greek mariners, Marseille is a top destination for tourists from all over the world.
It is the second-largest city in France and the largest one in the Mediterranean.
The city is a mixture of various nationalities since the people living there have different ethnic backgrounds because a lot of Italians and Spanish having immigrated there after the Second World War.
Tourists are attracted by its markets, sea, old harbor and the Panier area, which is the oldest part of the city.
Warnings & Dangers in Marseille
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
The police are doing its best to protect both the citizens and tourists in Marseille, and it is highly-effective, but tourists still might be a target for pickpockets on the city’s streets. It is a safe city with certain parts to be avoided. Street crime is very frequent, so keep an eye on your passport, credit cards, and other valuables and carry your bag across your body rather than on your shoulder.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Public transport might be risky in Marseille. Motorway journeys are usually trouble-free, but when the parking is in question, always park your car in a public area with lights. Using mobile phones with headsets or earpieces when driving is forbidden. France is often disrupted by strikes which can affect transport. Tourists should be careful of rogue taxi drivers who raise the price during the ride.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Pickpocket-related risk in the center of Marseille is common and pickpockets usually work in a gang. While you are distracted by one of them, the other gets your bag. Restaurants and bars are also common places where thieves operate.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
When natural hazards are in question, the risk is low in Marseille, as well as in the whole of France. There might be some avalanche risks in the Alps and some forest fires during the summer months, especially along the Mediterranean coast. Tourists need to follow the advice of French Authorities in case they need to evacuate areas and close roads for safety reasons.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
The chances of being mugged or kidnapped in Marseille are medium since some dangerous areas need to be avoided, especially at night. There have been reports about several victims of serious assault on the RER line B and on RER line D, which serves the Stade de France.
TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
The possibility of the terrorist attack in Marseille and the whole of France exists and the risk is very high, due to ongoing threats to France by Islamist terrorist groups. Tourists need to be watchful in public and follow the advice of local French authorities. Bear in mind that there have been several high profile terrorist attacks in France.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Common scams used to obtain money from tourists are fake petitions, 3 card trick, and gold ring tricks. As in any other big city, thieves will do everything to try to fool you to rob you. Scammers usually operate on the Paris underground and RER lines.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Even though it is believed that Marseille is generally very safe for women travelers, women should remain vigilant as in any other large city in the world. France is one of the most visited tourist destinations on the planet and a safe country for travel. Women traveling solo will not have any trouble getting around France by train, bus or rental car. However, there is always a possibility that young men, that are not respectful, harass a woman traveling alone.
So... How Safe Is Marseille Really?
Marseille is the city that is worth visiting no matter how dangerous it might be.
If you are an experienced traveler and a vigilant person, you do not need to worry about your safety when coming here.
The good thing is that muggings and pickpockets have decreased in the city center recently, and police forces are effective in fighting against criminals.
However, you should avoid carrying valuables and watch your surroundings.
Also, avoid the area around Boulevard Michelet due to a large number of prostitutes.
How Does Marseille Compare?
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- Visas - As in many other European countries, visas are not required for stays under 90 days, and the EU nationals can stay and work in the country as long as they want. Tourists should make sure that their passport and other travel documents meet the requirements of the country they are visiting and that their passport is valid during their stay. For stays of longer than 3 months, you will need to contact the French Embassy for information about entry requirements.
- Currency - The official currency in France is the Euro since it is a member of the Euro Zone. When it comes to the necessary budget, tourists should know that France is a particularly expensive country and that they will need at least 100€ per day including accommodation. Cash machines and ATMs can be found everywhere and credit cards are widely accepted.
- Weather - The climate in France is temperate, which allows tourists to visit major cities during the whole year year-long, even though the best experience is around summer. The only unexpected weather condition that might destroy your visit is the fierce wind that comes down to the city during certain parts of the year and can be very strong.
- Airports - Some of the main international airports which can be used when coming to Marseille are Aéroport de Charles de Gaulle, Paris Orly, Aéroport de Bordeaux, Aéroport de Lille, Aéroport International Strasbourg, Aéroport Lyon-St Exupéry, Aéroport Marseille-Provence, Aéroport Nantes Atlantique, Aéroport Nice Côte d’Azur, and Aéroport Toulouse-Blagnac. Marseille-Provence International Airport, located about 30km from Marseille, offers flights to other European cities.
- Travel Insurance - A travel insurance policy is always advised to travelers, in case of some unexpected issues. Wherever you go, the costs of emergency medical help might cost you a fortune, and that is when the travel insurance gets its value. It should cover not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal possessions.
Marseille Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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17 Reviews on Marseille
Won’t go back
Bad experience in Marseilles, car broken into while at the cathedral on Sunday. Felt very unsafe trying to find a restaurant – all men on the streets. Won’t return.
A pity of a city
Likewise, the carjacking theives are are PROFESSIONALS! i had my locked car window broken into WHILE standing beside the car at photo viewing point by the cliffside driving towards Parc de Canlaques. They are so good the alarm won’t even sound, and cruel, they could have just taken our money but they had to take the passports too.
The police were useless, they were on lockdown hiding from the criminals that day we tried to make a report, they can’t speak any english nor make decent attempt to understand you and pretty much gave a lame report and no effort of helping you apprehend the criminals. They just said this is a common everyday occurrence. Subsequently every local also seem to have known someone who has been robbed in Marseille,
It’s a pity because this is a lovely beautiful port city with a very nice fort and some nice artistic streets, but even then Julien cours didn’t feel safe as well.
What a shame
An article full of bullshit and and mistakes with no sens , Marseille is not what media shows absolutely not . just stop to be so naive . thanks.
Not safe for females
No its worse its an absolute pit , crawling with groups of men harassing females and a disinterested police force . Most horrid place ive ever visited in france .
Marseille is much better than Paris
Of course they didn’t speak English – YOU are in France and YOU are obligated to either learn some French or use a translator app on your phone to get by
I love Marseille so much I moved to the south of France! Aix-en-Provence is nearby and so safe it’s sleepy. Marseille is no more dangerous than New York City – use common sense and don’t speak English loudly, wear flashy clothing and accessories, or otherwise out yourself as a tourist. Never leave your passport or wallet in your car unattended – this is common sense for any city dweller.
If you are reading this – visit Marseille! It is a beautiful and moving city full of history and culture
You should correct this article
This website mentions RER lines B and D which are actually in Paris (where a lot of muggings happen) not Marseille (although a lot of mugging happen too)
Not the safest place in France
Marseille is a very dangerous city. The police here are extremely complacent and offer zero help. Except for the guys in the bac (brigade anti criminelle). The bac guys are quite good at their job, but the other cops are a joke.
There’s a lot of young guys idling all over the place, extremely violent, and always looking for trouble.
If you are a foreigner and speak no French, Marseille is a city you should avoid at all cost.
Very uneven but not awful
Most of the south and east of the city is very safe and beautiful, one should be careful in the city center (it’s not dangerous but there is some petty crime) and avoid the awful northern area.
Use common sense
I’m a Canadian who has lived in France for over 5 years and who has lived in Marseille as well as Paris. I have gotten to know the city quite well and return to it frequently and I can say as with any city there are good areas and bad areas. The 6th, 7th, and 8th are the safest parts of the city as they are the richest so I would recommend to find your accommodation. The center of the city is a bit more chaotic around the Old Port, Noailles, Belsunce and Panier neighborhoods as people from all over the city frequent these areas but as long as you try not to stick out to much you shouldn’t attract any bad attention. As a general rule avoid the very north of the city as that is where the actual dangerous areas are but the stereotype of Marseille being a dangerous is not true. Use common sense and you really should have no problems
Not a fan
Awful people, I never felt safe, public transit is a joke, there’s beggars and scammers at every step. I only went there to visit a cousin who already warned me to be on the lookout the second I leave the airport.
Very very unsafe
Awful place travelled in a pair , harassi by multiple groups of men , grabbed at , and actually assualted by the port at 12 pm midday . Spent 3 hours in police station to be told by police your both pretty what do you expect this hapoens here unless you want to be kidnapped abd sex trafficked i suggest you go back to england !! Spent rest of weekend away confined to room ordering takeaway to afraid to go out … horrific experience and are both experienced travelers
We arrived in Marseilles at night and had an airbnb in the northern area. We were followed on several occasions. I don’t think I’ll return…
The northern area of Marseille is by far the most dangerous area of the city and should be avoided by all tourists, maybe you should have read about the city before renting an airbnb
Just go to Nice
For the second biggest city in France I must say it’s the most uncomfortable and unsafe place I have ever been. It’s a vibe except it’s the whole city and you can’t escape it, living in Paris for over a decade my senses are constantly on guard. Very different then being in Nice or even Rennes.
Also being a gay Asian I got a lot of unnecessary hackling by men on the street and rude services until they realize I spoke French 😑 I would suggest just skip over this city, it is not worth the coins.
Excellent experience so far in Marseille, 5 days and counting. Staying in Castellane area. Feel perfectly safe with everything I’ve done so far – e.g. been taking lots of buses, metros, some trains, have walked a lot in daylight & in the dark around the wider area I’m staying in up to the city centre. Have not experienced anything that would make me feel unsafe. I’m a single women, travelling alone
The Best City in France
No worse than NYC or Paris – learn some French (!) and don’t wander the street after midnight talking loudly. Basic city dweller knowledge. Seriously – be quiet. French people don’t shout while talking unless they’re drunk.
French men will ask for your phone number and try to go out with you. This is their culture. Just tell them to fuck off. American women have a terrible habit of trying to be nice when uncomfortable but this just confuses the natives. Don’t smile at strangers and say hi to them – this is not normal in France and sends mixed signals to men. If you make eye contact it is assumed you find that man attractive. If you need help ask a woman.
Overall Marseille feels safer than Paris for this young solo female traveler, but if you’re looking to be coddled as a tourist go to Aix-en-Provence instead of the big cities